The bad news continues to surface as veteran actress and sitcom star Rue McClanahan has died at the age of 76.  She was one of the four regular cast members of the hit comedy “The Golden Girls,” which featured Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur, and Betty White. According to People Magazine, the actress passed away this morning at 1 AM.

The cause of McClanahan’s death was a massive stroke according to a statement released by her manager, Barbara Lawrence. She also confirmed that the actress “had her family with her. She went in peace.”

McClanahan’s first legit acting gig came in an off Broadway production in 1957, before she finally made it to the main stage in 1969. She hailed from Healdton, Oklahoma and used her homegrown charm to portray characters such as Vivian on “Maude” and eventually the man-loving Blanche Devereaux on the still popular “The Golden Girls”

Speaking of her “Golden Girl” counterparts, in 2008 Getty passed away, last year Arthur died from cancer, and with McClanahan’s sudden death Betty White is the series’ last surviving star.

Over her long and illustrious career McClanahan has been quoted as saying that acting was the only thing she ever wanted to do, and we’re happy she made that career choice.

In honor of Mrs. McClanahan we’d like to thank her for being a friend!

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What was your favorite character of McClanahan’s, Vivian or Blanche? Were you of fan of her other work?